By Hannah Watanabe-Rocco
So, this year I’m not going home for Christmas or New Year’s. I’m excited about spending the holidays in New York City for the first time, but I’ve never spent the holidays away from my family, and it’s kind of sad. It’s been making me think a lot about my holiday traditions, and how I can bring them into my life here. My family loves the holidays, even though we’re not religious at all. We’re less into organization and more into procrastination, so we get around to decorating the house at our own pace. My sister and I often take over tree-trimming duties, with our faithful dog Cassie sitting around looking really adorable, cheering us on, and sometimes wearing reindeer antlers. On Christmas day, my sister still wakes us all up at the crack of dawn to open presents even though she’s, like, 20 now (oh God, so weird!) and then we go to our family friend’s house to have Christmas breakfast. At night we go over to our grandparents’ and aunt’s house to eat really good food and open even MORE presents.
New Year’s is always a good time, too. The New Year is a big Japanese holiday, so we go over to my grandparents’ house to eat a lot of good Japanese food that’s all symbolic of stuff that I can’t remember. But it’s always really tasty! We also always go to Little Tokyo to participate in even more Japanese festivities. New Year’s Eve has always been the province of friends, though. My friends and I really like to party hard on New Year’s Eve. We do craaaaazy stuff like play Settlers, like, ALL NIGHT, or build blanket forts, or go watch the Korean Bell to be rung only to get some crappy mp3s of the bell ringing while watching people pretending to ring the bell instead…we’re pretty cool. It’s hard to think that I won’t be home for all of the usual holiday adventures with my family and my oldest friends.
But since I’m in New York City this year, I really feel like I have to step up my game, fashion-wise. I mean, I know everyone’s heard this a million times, but everyone here is pretty intimidatingly fashionable. It took a lot of courage for me to buy a bulky, practical down coat this year for the sake of comfort, because I feel like such a dork around all of these beautiful people walking around in beautiful, unsubstantial-looking coats. Seriously, do people here not get cold??? But holiday fashion is always so much fun that I’m excited to have the chance to actually wear some of it. As you might imagine, playing board games doesn’t really lend itself to fun outfits. I really want to go for some sequin skirts and brocade pants this year, which I somehow haven’t really embraced before despite my love of all things gaudy. Also, a lot of really fashionable boots. I’m seriously the hugest boot person. I think they’re comfortable AND cute, which I can’t say the same of heels (not comfortable) or sneakers (not cute). I can find a way to incorporate boots into ANY outfit, fancy or not. Besides, once it starts snowing, you really don’t have any other choice!
Now I have to start a lot of new traditions for myself this Christmas with my boyfriend, friends and family on the East Coast, and it wouldn’t hurt to make “looking cute” one of those traditions! I’ve already gone to see the tree at Rockafeller Center get lit up, and I’ve started my gift-buying (like Leslie Knope, I consider myself an excellent/competitive gift buyer). Now I want to go to Central Park to go ice-skating, and bake some cookies, and watch The Muppet Christmas Carol on YouTube, and knit some really cute ornaments. Even though I won’t be with my family back home, I’m slowly finding a way to make home wherever I am.
All drawings by Hannah Watanabe-Rocco.